World Radiography Week

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    Nov 07, 2012
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World Radiography Week is recognized by most Radiology departments, whether hospitals or private diagnostic centres worldwide. World Radiography Day actually falls on November 8, 2012 this year.

What's the purpose of it and what does it mean? Radiographers and Radiologic technologists along with all involved in imaging and therapy practice are usually asked to find innovative ways to mark the discovery of X-rays by Professor Wilhelm Roentgen in 1895.

Conferences for further training of technicians or technologists and seminars raising awareness are usually held. Some societies or departments may organize church services, cocktail functions, fun walks and runs. Newsletters may be published as well, celebrating patient care, research, education, volunteerism and clinical practice.

As a Radiologic technologist, I caught the Radiography Week fever this year when invited to attend a Mammography workshop put on by The Jamaica Cancer Society with the Pan American Health Organization and the Society of Radiographers (Jamaica). Mammography is one of my favourite modalities, ironic since every patient detests the day they have to do a mammogram. I found it a bit challenging at first, but as I got more comfortable so did most of my patients.

Mammography is not only a modality in Radiology, it involves Psychology as well. Depending on the patient it can get quite personal. I have had confessions of domestic abuse, sexual abuse, and deaths of siblings or close relatives from breast cancer, not to mention menopausal tantrums! Whatever the case may be, each patient is treated uniquely according to assessing their personality from the first few seconds after calling their name. Some may be hostile, some pleasant and some just merely nervous or scared. Each personality requires a different type of approach. The challenge then surfaces of how to handle each patient without driving them over the edge so they can leave feeling relieved, impressed or satisfied with their experience no matter what their results are foreseen to be. Unfortunately, everyone cannot be pleased, regardless of your efforts but the gratitude expressed by those you were able to appease greatly outweighs those rare occasions of dissatisfaction. Since I have been working at the same place for a few years, I have definitely developed a relationship with persons that do their mammograms consistently every year. I do hundreds of mammograms each year, but I still feel disappointed when I may not remember a patient but they remember me. I then comfort myself with the fact that I am remembered because of their good or satisfactory experience.

No matter how crowded the department may be, it is critical to still take the time to respond to patients and show interest when they have engaged you in a long conversation. It relieves anxiety for many and some have become old and it’s an opportunity to talk to someone, especially if they live alone. With all this said, imagine the heartache felt when I do a mammogram and the outcome is cancerous. I may know, but it is never my place to say or even display a negative facial expression or body language. All I can do is pray for them and upon their hopeful return to do a follow up be fully supportive and sympathetic towards them.

The life of a Radiographer or Radiologic Technologist is truly dynamic and I enjoy what I do. It is not just a profession, but a skill and sometimes a true test of patience. However, each day there are new experiences and it has been nowhere near monotonous so far. I look forward to networking with others in my field this week and of course highly anticipate the Mammography workshop to be held this weekend at The Jamaica Cancer Society. I trust that Radiography Week will be active worldwide and I look forward to continued progress and successes in the field.

- By Gabrielle Williams

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